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Fears in Framingham and Elsewhere

Yesterday I quoted two Connecticut newspapers from March 1775 reporting on the detection of a slave conspiracy in Natick. Such worries were nothing new. Back in September 1774, Abigail Adams had told her husband about a similar fear in Braintree: There has been in Town a conspiracy of the Negroes. Show More Summary

An “infernal Scheme” in Natick?

British officers and royal officials weren’t the only folks fearing a treacherous plot by their enemies as the Revolutionary War began. The provincials outside of Boston had plenty of suspicions as well.The 3 Mar 1775 Connecticut Gazette,...Show More Summary

An Attack on St. George’s Day?

On 24 Apr 1775, many British army officers planned to celebrate St. George’s Day, honoring the patron saint of England. St. George’s Day is actually 23 April, but that date fell on a Sunday that year—and that day of the week was presumably not proper for the officers’ form of celebration. Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 04/23

By now many of you have heard that T.J. Stiles’s biography of George A. Custer won this year’s Pulitzer Prize. This was his second. I reviewed the book for The Daily Beast and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is Stiles’s second Pulitzer. As much of an achievement as that is, I am even more excited for […]

Harriet Tubman: Escaped slave, underground railroad leader, abolitionist. But did you know she also helped win the Civil War?

As you may have heard, come 2020, the familiar stern image of President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill will be replaced with a new design featuring the face of escaped slave and courageous abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Tubman is best remembered for her work prior to the Civil War as she returned to the South to guide […]

The Rev. David McClure Finds Refuge with Joseph Mayo

When we left the Rev. David McClure on the afternoon of 19 Apr 1775, he had just managed to get out of Boston to Roxbury by the neck. Here’s what he witnessed the rest of that day.The sun was about half an hour above the western horizon. Show More Summary

The SPLC’s report… more “purposed” opinion than history?

I saw, today, that the Southern Poverty Law Center issued their “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” report, yesterday. Anyone who has watched the SPLC over the years knows how they are inspired and, to be clear, they simply don’t recognize complexities in the story of the anyone associated with the Southern Confederacy. Of course, […]

SPLC Catalogs Confederate Iconography

Yesterday the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report that catalogs examples of Confederate iconography across the United States. The report is well worth downloading and reading and includes a state-by-state list of monuments and a wide range of public sites named in honor of the Confederacy and its leaders. It is not comprehensive, but […]

John Howland and the Lexington Alarm in Providence

Yesterday I quoted Elkanah Watson’s description of how Providence, Rhode Island, responded to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. According to Watson, the news arrived on the afternoon of 19 Apr 1775, his militia unit spent the whole...Show More Summary

When Slaves Adorned American Currency

It’s been a few months since I published anything at The Daily Beast, but Wednesday’s announcement that Harriet Tubman will soon adorn the $20 bill prompted me to briefly reflect on African Americans that once adorned Confederate currency. I enjoy writing for TDB. For one it connects me to a much broader audience, but I […]

Elkanah Watson and the Lexington Alarm in Providence

I previously quoted the part of Elkanah Watson’s Men and Times of the Revolution in which he described his military training as a schoolboy in Rhode Island. Watson, born in 1758, was still a teenager when the Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred. Show More Summary

Isaac Royall and “the very Day the battle happen’d”

Like the Rev. David McClure, Isaac Royall of Medford was caught by surprise in Boston when the war began. Earlier this week on Facebook the Royall House and Slave Quarters quoted Royall’s 29 May 1779 letter to his former tutor, the Rev. Show More Summary

Abbeville Institute on Black Confederate Soldiers

Many of you are familiar with the Abbeville Institute. Among other things they offer an annual conference that brings together a short list of people, who push a decidedly Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War and slavery under the guise of serious scholarship. Last year’s annual conference included a talk by Donald Livingston on […]

Former Student Petitions to Save Lee Monument

Last night’s meeting of the Charlottesville City Council on the future of its Confederate monuments was well worth watching in its entirety. A number of people spoke, expressing a wide range of perspectives on the history of these sites and what should, if anything, be done. One current and two former history professors from the […]

The Rev. David McClure’s 19th of April

The Rev. David McClure (1748-1820) was a native of Newport who grew up in Boston, a childhood friend of Henry Knox.McClure became a student and protégé of the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, received a degree from Yale in 1769, and as a missionary...Show More Summary

‘Making America Confederate Again’

Right now the Virginia Flaggers are holding a rally at Charlottesville’s Lee Park in anticipation of a city council meeting tonight that will discuss the future of Confederate monuments in the city. The Flaggers will likely take the opportunity to share with city residents that the Confederate flag has nothing to do with the history […]

“Now the war has begun and no one knows when it will end.”

When we left the nonagenarian Amos Baker of Lincoln yesterday, he had just described how the commanders of the Middlesex County militiamen massed above the North Bridge in Concord agreed to march toward the British regulars holding that position. Show More Summary

Georgetown University search turns up descendants of slaves once owned by the institution

More than 170 years after 272 slaves owned by what is now Georgetown University in Washington were sold and forcefully shipped to the dreaded cotton plantations of the Deep South, the school is in the midst of an elaborate and expensive project to find descendants of those enslaved people. Born of a need to face […]

Silas Chandler in BuzzFeed News

This morning BuzzFeed published an extensive and thoughtful essay about Silas Chandler and his place in the black Confederate narrative by Adam Serwer. Serwer carefully explores the available sources related to Silas’s time in the war, but he also does an excellent job of untangling the many myths that have surfaced in connection with the […]

Amos Baker at the Bridge

On 22 Apr 1850, three days after the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, justice of the peace Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar took down the memories of a nonagenarian veteran named Amos Baker.Baker was thought to...Show More Summary

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